Daily Archives: 20/02/2012

( Up to a million Spainards marched in cities across Spain Sunday in a massive protest at the new government’s drive to strip them of their labor rights under the cover of austerity measures.

Protesters take part during a rally against the economic policy of the Conservative Spanish Government in Barcelona, Spain, Sunday, Feb. 19, 2012.  In echoes of Wisconsin, the labor ‘reforms’ proposed by Spain’s conservative government would make it easier for companies to fire workers and pull out of collective bargaining agreements.

The country’s two main trade unions, CCOO and UGT, organized demonstrations in at least 57 cities under the slogan: “No to the Labor Reforms – Unfair to Workers, Ineffective and Useless to the Economy and for Employment.”

Unemployment in Spain has tripled since 2007, and today about 5.2 million people in the country are out of work. The official unemployment rate is running at 23%, and its youth unemployment rate is nearly 50%.

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In Athens, an anarchist tradition alive and well( Singled out for blame in the wake of riots that broke out in Athens on February 12, Greek anarchists are eager to show that they “are not mere hooligans”. takes an exclusive look at the movement on the ground.

Nikólaos, a 36-year-old Greek anarchist, is reluctant to talk to journalists:

“Let me make it clear: I don’t represent any movement,” he says, making direct eye contact. “What I’m going to tell you is just my personal opinion. I’m not a leader or a spokesperson.”

His goal in speaking to the press is to make people abroad understand that Greek anarchists “are not mere hooligans”.

Nikólaos is seated in the office of Radio-Bubble, a community radio station in the neighbourhood of Exarhia in Athens. Home to numerous soup kitchens, occupied public buildings and squats, Exarhia has been the vibrant centre of Greek anarchy movements for nearly 40 years. In the 1970s, students rose up in revolt against the military dictatorship. Today, graffiti and anarchy posters line the walls of Exarhia’s narrow streets.

“We’re not only in a social war,” he insists. “We’re also in a media war.”

In the wake of the February 12 riots in Athens, news outlets and political leaders were quick to point their finger at anarchist protesters and far-left militants. The same scenario unfolded in 2008, when young Greeks and law enforcement officers faced off hours after the police killed an adolescent in a street protest.

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